I'm desperately trying to re-create the early morning conversation I had with G yesterday. I know I'm missing something, and of course, he doesn't remember a word of it, having been more or less asleep at the time. I was lying in bed, you see, ruminating on my rendezvous with darling Jen, aka Bakerina, who was to meet me at Broadway Panhandler for their massive kitchenware yardsale. "Jen's getting a Waring Blender," I muttered aloud. "I don't love our blender, but it works. Can I justify replacing it? Is it worth it not to have boiling hot soup shoot up out of the blender at me?" "Mmmmph," G responded, rolling over and snorting a few times.
"I know! I know what I need and can actually justify! Not a blender, but an IMMERSION BLENDER!" Having unintentionally raised my volume in my excitement, I had caused G to roll back in my direction and actually open an eye. "An immersion blender," he mumbled sleepily yet agreeably. "That's a blender that you use in the bathtub? While speaking a foreign language in the country of its origin?"
"Not exactly," said I, playing along. "It's actually a long electric stick thingie with a rotating chopper thingie at the bottom." "Ah, yes," he said. "One of those Sharper Image dildo-like thingies with bladelike teeth." "That's the very thingie," I said. "But I promise to use it only in the bathtub whilst speaking in tongues."
At this point, it was time for me to get up and meet Jen for our tryst. G, sporting fellow that he is, roused himself to drive downtown with me and spend the day working on his laptop in my brother and SIL's apartment, so as to be available to drive back uptown when I returned laden with new kitchen accoutrements.
The siren song of a large seasonal sale is seductive, there is no doubt. The problem is that other New Yorkers find it seductive as well. I reached Broadway Panhandler a few minutes before their opening time, where I was greeted by the sight of a line that stretched around two sides of a city block. Jen joined me a few minutes later.
Fortified by company, we steeled ourselves for the wait, which was considerable -- but then proceeded to pillage the sale. A lovely Braun Multiquick immersion blender at a fantastic price was first into my basket, where it was quickly joined by many friends. These included a Cuisinart Mini-Mate chopper/grinder; a Sitran sauté pan (Bakerina-recommended); a Benriner mandoline; Wusthof paring knives, chef's knife, kitchen shears, and knife sharpener; fluted crème brûlée dishes; and many, many other goodies. I can't talk too much about it, or my brother will be by to leave a comment along these lines: "My sister went to the Broadway Panhandler Yard Sale, and all I got was this lousy Microplane grater..."
Once we had given our items to someone who gave us a ticket, we then realized that we had to go inside to pay -- which entailed waiting on another interminable line. When we finally emerged, poorer but bathed in the triumphant glow of New Yorkers who have been among the first hundred or so to crack a sale, we reckoned we'd spent approximately 2 1/2 hours at BP, only 1/2 hour of which was actually spent shopping. Yes, by now you've done the math -- the other two hours were line-waiting time. I mean, I'm the person who went to Trader Joe's a couple of weeks ago, saw the line down the block, and resolutely turned around, saying "I refuse, I REFUSE to wait in line to get into a supermarket, specialty food store, whatever the hell it may be." I never go to a movie on the opening weekend any more. I'm over crowds and linewaiting, supposedly. But the pleasure of catching up with Jen made the time fly by, in truth. And once I got home with my bag of loot, I was rather pleased.
As we finally left the store, we realized that we were both desperate for refueling. Le Pain Quotidien was just around the corner, and a very good choice it turned out to be. I never cease to wonder how an international franchise like this one can maintain such amazing quality control. My Cobb salad special, Jen's Tuscan platter, our homemade minted lemonades, and the bread which accompanied everything were all simply stellar renditions of their kind. I honestly believe that all other Cobb salads must wish they were the Cobb salad at Le Pain Quotidien. I also think their service has improved greatly, at least at the Soho site. I've sometimes felt that the service at various of the NY branches was just a tad snooty, but there wasn't a hint of that this time, even in the very heart of Manhattan's own Snootyville.
All in all, a fine way to spend part of a holiday weekend. Today was spent recuperating, lazing around, going to the movies, making a good dinner. But the weekend's not over yet -- nor is the sale. I've been feeling a vague regret about not having gotten the Waring Blender. Anyone in the mood to wait in line?
This Just In: Yard Sale Update!
Be it known that I actually DID go back to the sale today, Monday, Memorial Day, after my tutoring gig. Here's the deal. There was NO line outside. There was a miniscule line inside. They were cooking free hotdogs on the barbecue, serving up lemonade, and had a sheepish sort of guitar guy with a primitive sound system hooked up. Quite different from the sharks-in-a-feeding-frenzy killing field of Saturday, I must say. I did, however, miss the glorious company. And naturally there wasn't as much stuff as on Saturday, but there were still plenty of goodies. Yes, I got the blender. And yes, it's *tangerine*, a far too kind way of denoting the garish shade of my new blender. My only comfort is that now Bakerina and I have matching blenders. We just have to remember not to wear them to the same party.